Blood-hungry, hurricane-fueled swarms of mosquitoes kill cattle in Louisiana-Nationwide

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Can a swarm of mosquitoes kill you by sucking your blood?

The chilling answer to this childhood question is yes, as some Louisiana farmers find out about their animals secondhand.

Giant mosquito clouds swarmed cattle to death in Louisiana this month after recent Hurricane Laura overloaded their numbers with heavy rains in late August.

According to Dr. Craig Fontenot, a Ville Platte-based large animal veterinarian, Louisiana farmers have lost 300 to 400 cattle to massive swarms of mosquitoes that have flourished since the storm.

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He says thick clouds of mosquitoes have descended on farm fields, swarming over the cattle, and leaving the animals weakened, anemic and exhausted. Many bleed under their skin and starve for oxygen until they eventually collapse and die.

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“They are vicious little fools,” Fontenot told The Associated Press in an interview.

The vet also posted a photo of a bull he treated on September 2nd. The photo shows the animal’s belly covered with tiny blood-sucking mosquitoes.

A bull’s belly is covered in mosquitos on September 2, 2020 in Louisiana.

Dr. Craig Fontenot on LSU AgCenter

Fontenot said mosquitoes have become a major problem in five eastern parishes corresponding to counties in Louisiana.

According to a press release from the AgCenter at Louisiana State University, officials in other communities have begun spraying farms and swamps with pesticides to reduce mosquito populations. It works in some places, but some farmers have already suffered losses from the swarms.


Click here to play the video.  'Louisiana governor warns of long recovery from Hurricane Laura'


1:24The governor of Louisiana warns of a long recovery from Hurricane Laura


Louisiana Governor warns of a long recovery from Hurricane Laura

“I lost a bull Friday night,” said Vince Deshotel, a local ranching specialist for the AgCenter.

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He says he spoke to four other ranchers who also lost animals to the mosquitoes.

According to Fontenot, mosquito plague has largely affected livestock as goats and horses are usually kept in stables where they can be more easily protected.

He says a particular deer breeder lost 30 of his 110 animals, including several that had already been sold.

“He says it’s over $ 100,000 he’s lost,” Fontenot told the AP.

This September 2, 2020 photo shows deer on a ranch where they were killed by hordes of mosquitos.

This September 2, 2020 photo shows deer on a ranch where they were killed by hordes of mosquitos.

Dr. Craig Fontenot on AP

In the past, hurricanes have occasionally caused farm animal diseases and pathogenic mosquito plagues. Fontenot says they were a problem after Hurricanes Lili (2002) and Rita (2005). Hurricane Harvey (2017) also produced massive insect clouds in Texas, as shown by photos from a witness from that period.

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Spraying from the air can reduce swarms of mosquitoes, emphasizes the LSU AgCenter. Pet owners can also take steps to protect each of their animals.

“Basically there are many products that can be applied to the animals, either in a spray, with pinpoint accuracy or with back massages,” said Dr. Christine Navarre, veterinarian at the AgCenter, in a press release.

She added that treating an animal is the best way to keep it safe from bloodsuckers.

“Good general diet and dealing with other stressors like heat and transportation are the best medicines,” she said.

Bug zappers are pretty good medicine too. And for those who are still wondering, after various analyzes of the question, it would take anywhere from a million to two million mosquitoes to kill a person.

Now imagine how many it would take to kill a cow.

– With files from the Associated Press

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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